Walt Disney World must rehire three performers who were fired when they refused to wear soiled spandex unitards as part of their costumes for the "Festival of the Lion King'' show after an arbitrator ruled Monday they were dismissed without just cause.
Disney violated language in a collective bargaining agreement guaranteeing that all costumes be clean before performers use them, the arbitrator said.
The agreement "states unconditionally that all wardrobe shall be clean and dry, without reference to the existence, or not, of actual danger,'' Arbitrator Robert Moberly wrote in his opinion.
Disney said the workers carried out an unauthorized work stoppage when they refused to put on the wet unitards last June, forcing the cancellation of an evening show.
The workers said their clean unitards became wet and soiled while hanging from a rack where sweaty costumes that had been rained on were pushed up against them. But Disney managers said that the two sets of costumes never touched and that the performers were given other options.
The clean-costume provision was added to the agreement more than a decade ago after incidents of rashes, scabies and other infections.